What is SEPA?

The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) is the area where citizens, companies and other economic actors can make and receive payments in euro, within Europe, whether within or across national boundaries under the same basic conditions, rights and obligations, regardless of their location. The geographical scope of SEPA encompasses the 27 EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Monaco.

SEPA is a policy-maker-driven EU integration initiative in the area of payments designed to achieve the completion of the EU internal market and monetary union. The SEPA vision was defined by EU governments in the Lisbon Agenda, which envisages the EU internal market as the most competitive knowledge-based economy globally. The Lisbon Agenda describes the integration of euro payment markets as a prerequisite to realise this vision. Following the introduction of euro notes and coins in 2002 the political drivers of the SEPA process – the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (in short: ECOFIN, comprising the EU Economics and Finance Ministers), the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Central Bank (ECB) – therefore called on the payments industry to bolster the common currency by developing a set of harmonised schemes and frameworks for electronic euro payments.

Main objectives

The main objectives of SEPA are:

  • Standardization of euro payments: equal time limits, equal fraud-risk levels, equal processes, all-electronic straight through processing, no differences between national and international payments in the SEPA area; strengthening trust and reliability on a pan-European basis.
  • Competition in respect to higher number of competitors, fewer niches or special fields or incompatibilities through standardization.
  • Reduction of costs of electronic money and of payment transactions through competition at the side of payment providers and banks.
  • Reduction of cash money and increase of electronic money through reduction of costs of electronic money.
    Increasing surveillance of (electronic) money flow particularly regarding money laundering.

Direct SEPA

DirectSEPA handles YOUR direct debits in over 30 European countries. Register today and offer direct debit payments in your webshop tomorrow!

Need more information? Feel free to contact us and we'll do our best to answer your questions.